Podcast 121: How to Get More Reading Done, a Car-Related Hack, and an Interview with Sam Walker about Leadership.

Update: We love reading everyone’s haiku!

Here’s mine for today:

Writing my haiku

A new way to see the world

Quiet, creative.

Try This at Home: Read more. Something that definitely boosts my happiness! For my one-pager about “Reading Better Than Before,” it’s here.

As promised, here are Daniel Pennac’s “10 Inalienable Rights of the Reader.”

Happiness Hack: Michael Melcher suggests using the vacuum at the gas station to keep the car clean. Outer order, inner calm.

Check out his podcast, Meanwhile, for ideas about how to improve your work and life.

Interview: We talked to journalist and editor Sam Walker about his fascinating book The Captain Class: the Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams. It’s about sports, leadership, and success.

Sam mentions that he’s a Questioner. Don’t know your Tendency? Take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

Sam’s Try This at Home: Ride a bike to work.

Gretchen’s (Possible) Demerit: I decided to stop driving in New York City. I write about my dislike of driving in Happier at Home,  and as part of the experiment of that book I worked hard to get back into the practice of driving. This decision feels cowardly — but those drives drain me and casts a shadow over summer weekends.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth and Adam just celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary, and that occasion reminded her how much work our mother did, to plan her wedding. It was gorgeous, and just what Elizabeth wanted.

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #121

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HAPPIER listening!

  • Kaitlin

    I just listened to the podcast and had to comment right away that you should let yourself off the hook for not driving in NYC. I grew up driving in Michigan and then moved to DC as an adult. Within a week of driving my car in DC, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore and sold it. I haven’t driven in over 3 years. We live in the middle of the city and don’t need a car, and when we go home to Michigan, I generally let my husband drive.

    I think the fear you feel driving is justified. It’s one of the most dangerous things that you can do, and people just become accustomed to the danger because they do it everyday. I’ve biked and walked in NYC, and that seems stressful enough! I can’t imagine how it would feel driving.

    To me, one of the best luxuries of living in a city with so many amenities and transit options is not having to drive. I wouldn’t force yourself. (If anything, you could try Sam’s strategy of biking more!)

  • Diane Donnell

    I have to comment regarding your guest. I cannot disagree more strongly with him! Hurling vile insults at your opponents or competitors, or choosing not to fly home to see your dying father are not things that would bring me happiness, despite whether or not I am on a winning team. Is winning really more important than being a kind person, or than being with your parent during their last moments on earth? Learning to lose gracefully is also an important life skill.

    • Carlotta Bosso

      you’re right learning to lose is very important. But I think the point was to be able to focus on some important goal no matter what.

  • Carlotta Bosso

    I started listening to audiobooks and that makes me read more! not all the books I want to read have the audio version, so I would listen to one and then read the next. in many cases the same character is in numerous books from the same author and if the audio version is not available I just read the book because I want to know what happens! or some times when I realise I’m slowing the reading I just listen to the audio book for a couple of chapters and then repick the book!

  • Rebecca

    I want to see pictures of Elizabeth’s wedding! 🙂

  • Gillian

    Interesting episode.

    Gretchen – you should get a gold star for not driving, not a demerit. If you live somewhere with effective public transit, use it – or walk or cycle. Every time you drive, you increase your carbon footprint. And when driving in a city, you increase traffic congestion and thereby the city’s total carbon emissions. I understand that you want to meet the challenge of doing something you don’t feel comfortable with but we can’t be good at everything and sometimes the wise and responsible thing to do is to stay well within our comfort zone.

    The guest had some interesting research, but my reaction to some of his ideas is similar to that of Diane in her comment. Negative behaviour and false priorities in a human situation are never admirable. There is too much emphasis on win-lose rather than win-win. When you carry the win-lose attitude to its extreme, you get Donald Trump.

  • TT

    It’s always easier to read more if you like what you’re reading, so here’s my trick! I read on my Kindle, and for just about any book, you can download a sample before you buy. It’s usually the first chapter or so, and reading that sample ahead of time makes it clear to me if I’ll enjoy reading the rest of the book or not.

  • Jane Couchman

    I LOVED this episode & the tips to make time for reading. I’ve always loved reading but I have definitely gone through phases when I struggled to find time to read. Starting up a book club a few years ago in Perth really sparked my excitement to read again – it was great to have a “deadline” to finish that month’s book before the next meeting, plus we took it in turns choosing the next book so we read a huge variety of genres.

    My latest inspiration is instagram where I have started a “bookstagram” account (What Jane Read). I’m having so much fun connecting with authors & publishers through the bookstagram community & sharing my current reads with my followers. It’s also a great place to find recommendations from fellow bookworms all over the world.

    My other tip is to switch off the TV & put my phone away, even if it’s for 10 minutes per day. I get a lot more enjoyment from reading that mindlessly scrolling on my phone. I’m a “questioner” so the proof is in the pudding for me – I feel happier when I read my book & this inspires me to keep reading because I KNOW I will get joy from it!

  • Sam Stern

    Another tip for reading more that I didn’t see in the comments or hear you mention on the podcast: Download and use the public library app, OverDrive. I started using it earlier this year, and it has transformed my reading from mostly books I buy to mostly books I borrow. It works with your public library card, so you have to enter your home library, and your card # to get started. From there, you have access through the app to loads of books, all free.

    It has both audio and digital catalogs, with tons of titles in both. For me, the app has greatly reduced the barrier to starting a book that I wasn’t sure I would really like. If I don’t dig it, I just virtually put it down or digitally return it. And I don’t feel like I wasted $$$.

    If you love the podcast, or love Audible, or both, you will also love OverDrive. Finally, it also has decent discovery and filtering features to help users discover new books they might not have known they were interested in.

  • Jill

    Same as Sam, I love using OverDrive. I don’t have a lot of time for reading, and it is difficult for me to get through a book during the borrowing period, but at least I can see if I like it enough to buy it. It saves me the disappointment of buying a book on my e-reader to only find out I really don’t like it!